Linfield graduation June 2
Commencement exercises will get underway at 10 a.m. on the graduation green adjacent to the Oak Grove, at the front of the campus. No tickets are required.
Golden Grads, alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago, will march into the commencement with the Class of 2013. Several Golden Grads will be accompanying grandchildren due to receive degrees.
Theresa Betancourt, a 1991 Linfield graduate and internationally known advocate for child health and human rights, will deliver the commencement address. Her topic is, “The Rest is Up to You.”
Charles U. Walker, Linfield president from 1975 to 1992, will speak Saturday, June 1, at baccalaureate ceremonies. His talk titled,“The Question of HOW,” is slated for 5 p.m. in Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Betancourt graduated summa cum laude with a major in psychology and minors in French and international studies. She received Linfield’s Distinguished Alumna Award in 2010.
After leaving Linfield, she completed her doctoral work in maternal and child health, with concentrations in psychiatric epidemiology and health and human rights, at the Harvard University School of Public Health.
She now directs the Research Program on Children and Global Adversity at Harvard. The center works to protect and promote the rights and well being of children and their families in developing countries through research, teaching, advocacy and targeted action.
She also teaches at the Center for International Health and Development at Boston University and serves as an associated scientist in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
In addition, she works with Partners in Health and other international associations, directing long-term studies and developing intervention programs for children and families affected by armed conflicts, HIV/AIDs and other extreme circumstances. She develops and demonstrates models for governments, non-governmental organizations, charitable foundations and communities, aligning their efforts and increasing their effectiveness.
The common thread in Betancourt’s research is documentation of survival strategies. She studies how some children and families manage to recover from the trauma of war, homelessness, sickness and poverty, and develops tools designed to help.
Over the years, she has helped thousands of homeless children in India, former child soldiers in Sierra Leone, Rwandan children and families affected by HIV/AIDS, and Eritrean Kunama refugees, among others.
“People who have passion for this work can make a huge difference,” said Betancourt. “If your treatment for a parent can change the life trajectories of the whole family, you can accomplish something tremendous.”
Betancourt grew up in rural Alaska, in an indigenous village with no paved roads, daughter of a couple that made social justice their life’s mission. Her mother established an early-childhood center, flying bush planes to remote villages to help children, and her father, a former Peace Corps volunteer, taught Yup’ik children.
Betancourt said the experience gave her a respect for other cultures and a sense of familiarity with conditions in the developing world.
She began working with disadvantaged children while she was still a student at Linfield, helping refugee families as part of a work study project. She later served as a senior intern for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and consulted for the International Rescue Committee, designing education programs for use in refugee camps.
Walker, the former Linfield president, built a reputation for community involvement during his 17 years at Linfield. His retirement years have proven no different.
He has been involved in the Ford Family Foundation, serving as vice chair of the board and helping design the foundation’s two major initiatives, the Ford Scholars Program and the Ford Institute for Community Building. He was founding chair of the Oregon Cultural Trust, which makes grants to cultural organizations in addition to raising funds toward a $200 million permanent endowment.
His interest in education led to his involvement in the Chalkboard Project, designed to help strengthen K-12 education in Oregon. The project is run by Foundations for a Better Oregon, which he chairs.
A classical music enthusiast, Walker established Neskowin Chamber Music in 1994. He combines his interest in international education and travel by leading tours around the world. He served as president of his local library board and as board member of the Tillamook County Futures Council.
Walker also is vice chair of the James and Marion Miller Foundation, which focuses on the arts and education in Oregon.
For more information about graduation, call 503-883-2408